Will switching to solar still save you money if you’re not in your home long enough? Find out what happens to your solar panels if you move.
Unless you have an enchanted crystal ball, there’s no way to predict the future.
But there’s one thing you can pretty much guarantee: electricity rates will continue to rise and your utility bill will get more expensive.
Switching to solar energy will help you decrease — and maybe even eliminate — your electricity bill every month.
And though the cost of solar panels has gone down, one of the most common excuses people use to delay switching to solar is not being settled in their “forever” home yet.
After all, what if you outgrow the home you currently love, have to relocate for a job, or move closer to an aging relative? Will you be able to take your solar panels with you to your new home or will your investment be a total waste?
Stick with us today and we’ll discuss all your options.
Did you know switching to solar energy will reduce your electricity bill every month and add value to your property? Grab our free guide about solar’s financial side now!
Solar Energy is an Investment in Your Financial Future
Should you resign yourself to paying high electricity bills every month just because you’re not in your forever home or may be moving in the future?
Solar energy is a great investment for both short and long term savings. Plus, you’ll see a return on your investment whether or not you decide to move:
Short Term Savings: Lower Monthly Electricity Bills
The biggest reason homeowners make the switch to solar energy is the immediate savings they see on their electricity bills every month.
Switch to solar and you should be able to offset 70–90% of your electric bill. The average homeowner saves around $100/month when they switch to solar energy.
But live in a state with super high electricity bills — like homeowners in Hawaii, New England, California, New York, etc. — and you’ll see even bigger savings.
So if your bill is currently $200/month, you could be looking at $140–$180 savings!
These short-term savings definitely add up over time.
Long Term Savings Help You Pay Off Your Installation
Let’s go with the average and say you save $100 on your electricity bills each month.
That’s $1,200 every year; $6,000 in five years; and $12,000 in savings after 10 years.
Since the price of installing solar panels is lower than ever, you’ll be able to pay off your system using just your electricity bill savings in record time.
Once you pay off the cost of your solar array, you’ll be generating “free” electricity as long as your solar panels are active.
And since most solar panels can last anywhere from 30–50 years, that’s a whopping $36,000–$60,000 in total electricity savings you’ll be generating. Talk about ROI.
But if you’re not in your forever home, you may be wondering if you’ll keep your solar array long enough to see the benefits.
Earn a Solid Return on Your Investment Either Way
Combine all your savings and you’ll be able to pay off the cost of switching to solar — if you stay in your home long enough, right?
True, but not exactly.
See, the longer you keep your solar panels, the more you’ll rack up in savings. That’s true.
But solar panels are also an attractive feature potential buyers will be interested in purchasing with the sale of your home if you do decide to move. So you’ll make your ROI a different way.
Here’s what you need to know about your options when it comes time to sell your solar-powered home.
If You Own Your Solar Panels, Sell Them With Your House
You’ll want to decide if you’re selling your solar panels before you put your home on the market.
That’s because certain states will actually consider your solar array as part of your house and it will automatically be included in your purchase contract.
So if you advertise your home with your solar panels attached, they may be considered a fixture that comes with the sale and not yours to take.
But is taking your solar panels with you to your new home even a good idea?
A solar system that’s attached to your house is usually sold alongside as part of a package deal. Here are the best reasons to sell your solar panels with your home:
Solar Panels Increase Your Property Value
Research from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show that:
- For every $1,000 in annual savings your solar array offsets, you’ll earn a $20,000 boost in your home’s property value.
- Buyers are willing to pay an average of $15,000 more for a home with solar panels than they would for a comparable home without an array.
So when you combine your monthly savings with the added property value, it’s a no-brainer.
Image Source: nstall solar
Solar Systems Attract Buyers and Help You Sell Faster
When it comes time to sell your house, you’ll want to highlight all the unique, attractive features that makes your home stand out from the comps in your neighborhood.
There’s no better way to give your home a selling advantage than with an efficient, money-saving solar array.
Upgrades like solar panels, cool roofs, and energy-efficient doors and windows will save you money now in energy costs and later when it comes time to sell, giving people a reason to offer more on your home or business. pic.twitter.com/ua8TQPQ9XF
— GoGreen Home (@GoGrnHome) November 28, 2017
The DOE says that homes with rooftop solar arrays usually sell twice as fast as comparable homes without solar systems.Homes with rooftop solar arrays usually sell twice as fast as comparable homes without solar systems. Click To Tweet
Stats published by the Appraisal Journal showed that “18 of the 43 PV homes studied sold more quickly than their corresponding non-PV homes” and homes with solar systems sold at a premium in every state studied.
So once you advertise how much money you typically save every month in utility bills, you’ll have buyers ringing up your realtor all day.
Most buyers are happier to find a property with a pre-existing solar array than having to do the legwork to find a trustworthy solar provider, pay for the installation, and go through all the trouble themselves.
And the more interested buyers you have, the faster your property will sell and the higher your final price may be if you have competing offers.
It’s a Better ROI than Any Other Home Renovation
There’s no other home improvement project that can add as much value to your home as installing solar panels. It’s a premium buyers are willing to pay extra for and it’s always a hit.
Unlike a bathroom or kitchen remodel, you never have to worry about a solar upgrade not appealing to your buyer’s tastes. Everyone loves saving money, but not everyone’s crazy about white kitchen cabinets or black granite in the shower.
You Can Sell Your Solar Panels and Use the Money to Install a New Array
You’ll never lose money on your solar array when it comes time to sell your home. As one solar expert recommends:
“Markup the price on the house by the value of the solar system (20 years worth of utility savings) then reinvest that money in a new system on the new home and get the tax credits again.”
Realty company Redfin studied how installed solar systems affected the home prices in the Northeast — where electricity prices are some of the highest in the country.
As Frank Andorka reports for PV Magazine USA, “Homes in the Northeast with solar panels sold for an average of nearly $99,000 more than those without them.”
So even if your solar installation or solar loan isn’t paid off, you’ll be able to cover the remaining balance after the sale of your home thanks to this extra buffer, making it a win-win.
Removing Solar Panels and Installing them Elsewhere Isn’t Easy
You can certainly take your panels with you when you move to your new house. However, this may be a more difficult route to take.
First, the actual removal and transfer process can be risky.
Damage can happen when removing and transporting your solar panels to your new address. Both of these would void your warranty.
Even if you ask the same solar provider that installed your solar panels to remove and reassemble them in a different location, they may not want to take the chance of voiding your warranty.
Second, uninstalling solar panels from your roof will require you to repair parts of your roof before you’ll be able to list/sell your home.
Not only will you need to remove the solar mounting from your roof and fill in all the holes, you may need to replace faded sections of your roof as well. Your solar panels protect your roof from sun damage, but when they’re gone, your roof will be two different shades.
All the stress and costs of relocating your solar panels may not be worth it — especially if your solar panels aren’t optimal for your new address.
Your Solar Panels May Not Work at Your New Home
Before you installed your solar panels, you checked your home for the best spot to generate electricity, researched all the grants and tax incentives you qualified for, and complied with your local building code regulations.
But what if all those are different at your new home?
Building codes and solar tax incentives vary between cities and they’re constantly changing. Your current solar array may be grandfathered in right now, but you may move somewhere with different rules and have to spend more money to bring it up to code.
That’s why it’s best to sell your solar panels with your home if you own them. But what happens if you have a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?
What to Do If You Lease Your Solar Panels
Since you won’t technically own your solar panels with a solar lease or PPA, you can’t sell them along with the sale of your house. But you do have three options:
- Transfer the lease to your new buyer. As long as he or she meets the criteria set by your solar leasing company, you’ll be able to get out of the agreement while they slide in.
- Buy out the remainder of your lease. Since you’re under contract for a specific period of time (i.e., 10+ years), your solar company may require you to buy out the remainder of your contract and pay off your lease if your new buyer won’t assume your contract. Be aware of certain penalties companies charge for paying off your lease early.
- Take your solar array with you. Certain solar lease providers will allow you to pay a dismantling/reinstallation fee and they’ll remove your panels from your current home and reinstall them at your new place. Since the solar panels are theirs, all the liability for damages rests on them and not you.
You shouldn’t be too worried about the possibility of having to buy out your solar lease or finding a new buyer to take it over.
When the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory studied recently sold homes in southern California with a solar lease/PPA attached, they learned that:
- 77% of the leases were successfully transferred to the new buyers
- Only 20% had potential buyers “scared off” due to the lease/PPA commitment
- Most sellers saw no impact on their home sale value as a result of including their lease/PPA in their purchase contract
Make the Smart Financial Choice and Invest in Solar NOW
Since there’s no downside to installing solar panels on a property that may not be your forever home, the sooner you start, the more you’ll save.There’s no downside to installing solar panels on a transitional property; the sooner you start, the more you’ll save. Click To Tweet
Switching to solar will help lower your electricity bills immediately and add value to your property in the long run. Then you’ll be able to install a new solar system at your forever home with all the extra money you’ll earn from selling a solar-powered house.
Let our experts at 1st Light Energy help you create the best solar array for saving money. Contact us today to request your free no-obligation solar quote!
Want to know exactly how much you’ll save every month in electricity costs? Click here for our free guide and dive into the financial wins of switching to solar now!
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